Although Mustang Leadership Partners is not open for unscheduled visits from the public, one of our goals is to showcase our wild mustangs and promote the breed to an appreciative audience. We regularly attend mustang and other equestrian events to promote the breed and encourage you to check out some of the upcoming events and mustang resources listed below.
On February 25, 2017, MLP students travelled to Miller Colliseum in Murfreesboro, TN and took part in the Southern Equine Expo. As a part of the experience, students had the opportunity to learn from Celeste Barrett of Equestrian Chaos; a Russian/Cossack trick rider and Roman rider who has worked professionally as a performer for several circus family shows. She is also a stunt performer. In addition to her performances across the nation, she uses her trick riding experience with special needs children as tools for positive reinforcement to overcome physical and mental blocks. Ms Barrett’s goals are to give children and adults confidence in their abibities to achieve the unthinkable, and the desire to unlock the magic each of us has within.
Learn more about the Southern Equine Expo
It was 10:00 AM on a Monday morning in the middle of summer vacation. For a late July morning in Tennessee, it was unusually chilly. Brittney, Frida, and Yhara were not at their homes in bed, at the breakfast table, or in front of the television; they were standing at attention by their horses at a Mustang Leadership Partners practice. As Sue Anne Wells called out the choreography, each girl’s face displayed a mixture of concentration, determination, confidence, and joy. Each girl was doing her very best to remember the choreography; each wanted to get it just right!
What would draw these girls out on a Monday morning during their vacation from school? The opportunity of a lifetime – the chance to perform at the Mustang Million event in September in Fort Worth, Texas.
The Mustang Heritage Foundation, in collaboration with the Bureau of Land Management, is presenting the unparalleled Mustang Million event from September 16 to 22 at the Will Rogers Memorial Facility in Fort Worth, Texas. One thousand mustangs will be eligible for participation in this grand event that offers $1 million in cash and prizes to trainers and presenters!
In the midst of one thousand mustangs and thousands of mustang enthusiasts, three students from the Mustang Leadership Partners in Chattanooga, Tennessee will have the amazing opportunity to showcase the beauty and agility of three MLP mustangs – Chief, Breeze, and Satin. As the girls perform a choreographed dance with their horses to country music star Jimmy Wayne’s “Where You’re Going,” they will demonstrate to spectators how stunning, trainable, and controlled wild mustangs can be when adopted, cared for, and properly trained. Chief, Breeze, and Satin are shining examples of the grace of the American mustang, and the MLP girls shine just as brightly when they perform with the horses.
VC, who was not at this particular practice, is the oldest and most experienced of this band of MLP students. Her face lights up when she talks about the upcoming trip to Texas. Having traveled with MLP to an Extreme Mustang Makeover (EMM) event in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, she is no stranger to large mustang adoption events. This trip will be different, however; she and her classmates will be performing in front of a large audience! VC is excited about performing with Chief and the other horses, but she is more excited to see how the mustangs, who are ready for adoption, have grown and progressed during their time with their trainers. Brittney, another seasoned veteran of MLP, is really looking forward to visiting Texas for the first time and staying several nights in the Lone Star State. For some of the girls, this trip will be their first time on an airplane! Brittney also traveled with MLP to the EMM event in Murfreesboro, but this trip will be even more special. Yhara, a 7th grade student, is focused on the choreography, which she loves. She especially enjoys the running with Satin and the sending in a circle because that part is done in unison. The fourth member of the group, Frida, is an alternate for this event and has worked just as hard as her classmates. She has some ballet experience, so as she has practiced, she has primarily focused on the choreography. She really hopes she and her classmates perform well in Texas!
For all the girls, this trip will undoubtedly be a highlight of the 2013-2014 school year! Mustang Million, get ready to host some stars!
On June 3, 2013, Mustang Leadership Partners had the privilege of hosting Mustang Heritage Foundation (MHF) staff members who spent the day teaching and interacting with MLP students as part of MHF’s Camp Wildfire. Nine MLP students attended Camp Wildfire, and they enjoyed a full day of activities and lessons! In between fun activities such as relay races, acrylic painting, leather tooling, and song writing, the MLP students learned more about the American mustang and land stewardship from MHF experts.
Kyla Hogan gave an overview of the Bureau of Land Management and the Mustang Heritage Foundation and described how these organizations work to preserve American mustangs. Then Byron Hogan talked with the MLP students about the strengths and characteristics of mustangs, and Randi Blasienz added an inspiring presentation about the efforts of Wild Horse Annie. After spending time reflecting and writing about what they had learned throughout the day, the MLP students finished the camp day with a scavenger hunt, a nice swim, and a water volleyball game! Camp Wildfire was an excellent start to the MLP students’ summer vacation!
On May 4, 2013, the Extreme Mustang Makeover returned to the Livestock Center in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, and once again, Mustang Leadership Partners was pleased to be part of the event. This year, however, instead of being mere spectators, three MLP students had the special opportunity to participate in the EMM pick-up!
These three girls showed the ability and versatility of three wild horses that have transformed into trained mounts. In demonstrating for trainers and potential mustang owners how tame and accomplished the horses are, the MLP students exhibited their own leadership and horse-handling skills, as well as the magnificence of the mustang breed.
As if the Extreme Mustang Makeover wasn’t a big enough stage for such a presentation, these same young ladies will also have a chance to show off their skills and the mustangs’ abilities at an unprecedented event in September – Mustang Million in Ft. Worth, Texas. Developed by the Mustang Heritage Foundation, the inaugural Mustang Million event will present 1,000 mustangs and $1 million in cash and prizes.
The MLP students understandably view this as an incredible privilege, and they anticipate this event with great excitement!
In April 2012, Sue Anne Wells, director of Mustang Leadership Partners, earned her Bronze Medal Rider Award form the United States Dressage Federation, USDF. She accomplished this with two of her mustangs Narcil and Dart. Both Narcil and Dart are BLM mustangs that were adopted form Nevada. The Bronze medal is earned by acquiring two scores of 60% or higher at First, Second and Third Level. These scores must be earned by different judges at different shows. This past year the annual USDF awards were announced and distributed in New Orleans, LA.
At the third annual National Mentoring Summit, which convened in January 2013, Mustang Leadership Partners stepped onto the national stage. Dr. Elaine Swafford, Director of Chattanooga Girls Leadership Academy, presented the unique mission and work of MLP to over 650 corporate and philanthropic leaders from across the nation at this inspiring event. And the audience couldn’t hear enough.
Co-hosted by The Bank of America Charitable Foundation and MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership, the 2013 National Mentoring Summit focused on the theme “Mentoring Works: Inspire. Achieve. Advocate.” Dr. Swafford gave one of the opening addresses to kick-start the conference. She artfully demonstrated that through Mustang Leadership Partners, mentoring works: students from Chattanooga Girls Leadership Academy are inspired and encouraged to achieve and advocate – not just for the American mustang – but for themselves as well.
“The outcomes are profound so far,” she stated. “Our mentored are more sure. They are more confident because they met and conquered something new.”
Dr. Swafford artfully described MLP’s history and distinctive approach to developing leadership skills and mentoring relationships:
“Sue Anne Wells recognized the ultimate mentoring relationship was at her very fingertips. She combined her love of horses and her belief in mentorship and created the Mustang Leadership Partners. MLP is a mentorship, leadership and STEM project created to bring hands-on experiences that lead to life-long lessons inspired by the wild American mustang to our urban girls.”
Dr. Swafford’s presentation closed with a clip from the documentary Untamed Legacy: America’s Wild Mustang, which showcases the MLP mentorship model in action.
At this National Mentoring Summit, where hundreds of leaders representing hundreds of ideas and programs gathered, MLP added an exciting and inspiring approach to a national conversation about best practices in mentoring children and young adults.
In July 2011, dancers from Ballet Tennessee and students from Mustang Leadership Partners had the opportunity to share their respective passions for dance and horses, and in the collaborative process, they found some common ground. These students came from all walks of life: the inner city, rural communities, public and private schools. Together they translated what they learned about mustangs into an inspiring performance for the community. The article “Young Dancers in Chattanooga, Tennessee Explore the Spirit of the Wild Mustang,” originally published in the fall 2011 edition of the American Mustang and Burro Association Journal, describes this unique partnership between Ballet Tennessee and MLP.
Click here to read the article.